Celtics Trade Rumors: Boston Favorite To Land Al Horford If Atlanta Hawks Trade Him

Celtics trade rumors have the team running as the favorite to acquire Al Horford. These Boston Celtics trade rumors link the team to the Atlanta Hawks, revealing that the team has emerged as a strong candidate to land Horford before the NBA trade deadline. A report from CBS Sports has relayed this information, with a league source leaking that Celtics president Danny Ainge is still after Horford. If the information is true, it means that the Celtics and Hawks have continued negotiating toward a possible deal.

There has still been no confirmation by the front office of the Atlanta Hawks that Al Horford is going to be made available. This might put some cold water on the latest Boston Celtics trade rumors, as it would be in the best interest of Atlanta to allow every team a chance to bid on Horford. The counter-argument to that method of thinking is that Atlanta wants something in the treasure trove of assets that Boston has in its possession.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Ainge has been loading the Celtics up with young players and draft picks for a number of years. It dates back to when Ainge broke up his championship team and started dealing pieces to teams like the Brooklyn Nets. This brought the Celtics quite a few first- and second-round picks in the next four NBA drafts.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Some of those assets include the 2016 first-round pick of the Brooklyn Nets, the 2016 first-round pick of the Dallas Mavericks, and three second-round picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Celtics also control the 2016 first-round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it is lottery protected. If the Wolves miss the playoffs, the team retains its pick, and the Celtics get the second-round selection from Minnesota. Counting the picks that Boston already has, that increases the total to eight selections the Celtics will have in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The assets don’t end there though. The Celtics also control the 2018 first-round pick of the Brooklyn Nets and the 2019 first-round pick of the Memphis Grizzlies. In all the dealing that Danny Ainge has done, he also managed to maintain control of the picks for the Celtics. This makes the franchise very wealthy when it comes to draft selections over the next four years. If Ainge now feels that it is time for the Celtics to take that next step, he may be willing to deal some of those picks to acquire Al Horford.

One important facet of these Boston Celtics trade rumors is that the team will have to match salaries to complete a deal with the Atlanta Hawks. Al Horford makes $12 million this season, so the Celtics would have to send roughly that same amount back in players. The easiest salary for the Celtics to part with would be that of David Lee. He is an expendable player on the bench, but Lee makes about $15.5 million this year. Exchanging those players would require the Hawks to add someone like Thabo Sefolosha ($4 million) to close the deal.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

There is a lot of risk for the Celtics to make a trade for Horford, beginning with the fact that he is a free agent in the NBA offseason. It could turn this trade into a short-term acquisition if Horford has plans to sign with another team during free agency. By acquiring him, the Celtics would be able to offer him the biggest contract, but that doesn’t come with a guarantee that he will sign. For these Boston Celtics trade rumors to lead to something, first the Atlanta Hawks have to actually pull the trigger and then Danny Ainge has to be willing to trade draft picks.

[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]